1. If you generally like kids, it’s the best way to spend your days.
It’s okay to like kids even when you’re still trying to figure out this whole ‘feeding yourself and eating out of something beyond a coffee mug’ situation called your early 20s. Liking kids does not necessarily mean you’re fiending for a family of your own just yet (and if you are, that’s perfectly okay, too). Kids are, for the most part, pretty awesome miniature human beings. They’re honest, they’re affectionate, and despite their bad rap for being stubborn, they help you get out of your own head for a while. Taking care of another person is a great exercise in reminding yourself that being the center of your universe isn’t always the best thing.
2. You have a reason to indulge in all the movies, books, and games you loved as a kid.
… That’s what you get paid to do. Depending on the job parameters, you’ll probably have to help kids with their homework and be firm but kind when it comes to bedtime, but a lot of parents honestly just want their kids to have a good time. You can be creative, you can color with crayons, you can watch Disney movies, you can play dress up all night long — really, it’s like you get to be a kid again, except this time on the clock.
3. It’s practice.
Is a babysitter a surrogate parent? Not in the least. But knowing how to change a diaper, taking a course on CPR (this is the clutch certification to have if you want to be the best babysitter ever) and knowing how to negotiate with the smaller set goes so far beyond being more prepared for kids of your own one day. You’ll also be more patient, creative, and willing to put up with more when it comes to your other job. Go ahead, put babysitting on your resume. It’s a definite skill set.
4. The hours are flexible.
If you schedule accordingly, you can easily pursue your passions and your dream job in your spare time. Is it strange to not have a solid schedule? Sometimes, but the kind of person who is really chasing that “creative type” job probably would be cool with having those crazy hours anyway.
5. You’ll get paid in cash.
And chances are good you’ll get paid day-of, too. There’s really no way to talk about money in this job without it being awkward, because ideally the main benefit would be doing something you love — if you don’t love kids, you should probably rethink this babysitting situation — but it’s still a job, and parents are often understanding that you need to support yourself.
6. If you’re good at it, chances are you’ll never run out of work.
A family that has a clutch babysitter is like a friend knowing the bouncer at your favorite club. Families like to share their best babysitters like insider information, because they’re not going to trust their friends’ kids with anyone less. Moreover, people have been having kids since the dawn of time, and they’re not going to stop any time soon. Babysitting is a job skill that can literally never be outsourced.
7. Kid food is the best food.
I mean, they have chicken nuggets shaped like dinosaurs. Hell, they also have spinach patties shaped like dinosaurs. What food DOESN’T taste better when it’s shaped like an extinct reptile? Sure, if you babysit enough, you’re going to start functioning on a steady diet of applesauce and yogurt squeezers, but kids these day are savvy and are also up on that hummus game. They know what’s up. (And if the kid gets dessert, you get dessert. Everyone wins!)
8. It’ll help cushion that paltry entry-level paycheck.
And if your entry-level job is your dream job, it’ll help you keep going until you reach that next ladder rung. Babysitters can command anywhere from $15-$30 an hour, and if you’re really struggling, sometimes those extra $20 bills are the difference between ramen this week and, y’know, real groceries.
9. In a pinch, it’s a great way to get out of other plans.
Look, call me a homebody, but if I’m forced to choose between babysitting and going out on a Friday night, I will choose babysitting every single time. It’s an upstanding choice, you’re seen as the responsible adult who has the wherewithal to make rent, and chances are good you’ll have a little extra money to spring for the top-shelf liquor on Saturday. Plus, you’ll wake up without a hangover, and any arguments you had the night before with the kids are much easier to smooth over than any drunken fights you had with your frenemies. And kids won’t care if you wear sweatpants.
10. If they’re young, they’ll nap during the day, and if they’re a bit older, they’ll still have a bedtime, which means regardless, you’ll have a break eventually.
It’s a job that takes a lot out of you, but it also innately understands that even the most gung-ho babysitter needs a break from time to time. (Even Mary Poppins knew to take off every other Tuesday as her me-time.) You can use this time to work on what you want to do, to grab a coffee and decompress, whatever.
11. Bonding with kids is awesome.
Because in the words of the ever-omniscient Aaliyah, age really ain’t nothing but a number. Chances are good you’ll have more in common with these kids if you only take the time to figure out what it is, and forging friendships with people whose outlook on life are still innocent and completely outside of your scope of the world is a really healthy thing to do. Besides, if the family is awesome, and you feel a little homesick in your new adopted town from time to time, even witnessing the kind of loving home that another family has can assuage that heartache a little bit.
12. You get to take kids to fun places.
The best babysitters take their kids to see Frozen, to the zoo, to get ice cream if they’ve earned a treat or to the park on a nice day. You can get paid to be outside. Who doesn’t want to get paid to be outside when it’s nice out? Who doesn’t want to get paid to go to the zoo? Nobody, that’s who. Nobody doesn’t want that.
13. There is nothing like a kid saying you’re their favorite babysitter.
Whether or not they tell this to every babysitter doesn’t matter. When you get that hug hello or as a thank you for cleaning up their scraped knee, that is all that matters in the world. And if a 7 year old says you’re cool, really, there is absolutely no higher honor. You are cool. The children have spoken.